Having sold for $2.7 million last year and shuttered after 50-years in business, a permit to raze the iconic Nob Hill (a.k.a. “Touch our Junk”) Theater has been requested and is working its way through Planning.

And as designed by John Lum Architecture for the doctor who purchased the site, a new five-story building will rise up to 50 feet in height upon the Nob Hill parcel, with a ground floor medical office building, a surgery center below, and four residential units across the new building’s top three floors, including one four-bedroom unit for the aforementioned doctor who is planning to operate below.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    Kind of ambivalent on the design but yay infill? Maybe as a homage to its past a new sign on the ground floor of the med office can say: “We touch YOUR junk!”

  2. Posted by Notcom

    “Something New to Rise on Theater Site”…how did you miss that opportunity??

  3. Posted by Hunter

    Great; more homes. Disappointing this isn’t at least double the height in one of our densest neighborhoods. :/

    • Posted by SocketSite

      While the theater site is actually zoned for development up to 65 feet in height, building to said height would require a Conditional Use Permit to be approved, and “the project sponsor has chosen not to create more units with greater height as it will take more time (as a result of a conditional use permit) and will impede his deadlines for opening his surgical practice and doctor’s office and will slow down occupancy by his family of the larger upstairs dwelling unit.”

      • Posted by Mark

        Does he not have a surgical practice up and running elsewhere in the city? Can we also assume he and his family have a current place to live?

        Basically, the “project sponsor” couldn’t care less about building up to 65 feet and his interests are solely his own.

        Also, it’s a hideous building that is completely out of character for the neighborhood. More city officials’ hands being greased to get this moved through quickly, yet again.

  4. Posted by Dandywhatsoever

    How can this not be a site of historical significance?

    • Posted by FlorEnfadada

      The homophobia of it all?. This site deserves better.

      • Posted by Chris

        What would be better? It was an old porn theater, like thousands across the country, and the owners chose to close it, not the city. If you want gay history, there are many more deserving sites in the Castro, Tenderloin, SOMA, North Beach, and the Mission.

        To cry “homophobia” when there are people today experiencing actual homophobia/transphobia is clueless at best and distasteful and dishonest at worst.

        • Posted by FlorEnfadada

          Oh enough of your manufactured outrage?. The joke clearly wasn’t for you, so move on.

          And this was OUR one and only male porn theatre. It meant a lot and played an important role in some of our lives up until the end. To turn your nose at this well-known venue as if sex work isn’t part of SF gay history in the leagues of Castro and so forth is clueless at best and distasteful and dishonest at worst?.

          • Posted by Chris

            Flor, you are the one who appears to be attempting to manufacture outrage. And, if you were attempting to make a joke, then what exactly was the joke? I do not see any joke in your remark.

            My response to you was calm and polite. Also, I am gay, so it IS my history. Where are you getting anyone “turning their nose” or acting as if sex has nothing to do with being gay? Simply, acknowledging the theater’s owners voluntarily closed their business and the site now sits empty and ready for a new use does neither. It sounds like you are trying to create drama out of nothing.

          • Posted by FlorEnfadada

            I’m not gonna be gaslit on this site for disagreeing with what has been chosen to replace this site, which pays no mind or appreciation to its gay history and the selfish rush to build something so short of its zoned height. That was the intent of the op and I’m not going to explain how shaded humor works to anyone, gay or otherwise.

            Whether people like it or not, Nob Hill Theatre is a part of SF gay history as much so as other sites and neighborhoods and shouldn’t be diminished in their shadow. Because that is how Chris’ above comment read out – dismissive and virtue signaling.

    • Posted by dijonaise

      Because the cleansing of SF will not stop until they erase all our our (gay) “dirty” culture.

      • Posted by Brian M

        Given that the theater is already long closed, what exactly is being “erased”? Porno is now omnipresent online anyway, gay and straight. Almost eveyr site in a city has SOME cultural significance. Is your ideal freezing everything in amber? Culture lives on in memory, in archives, etc.

        • Posted by ChrisS

          Wow. That could hardly be more wrong

          • Posted by Brian M

            You haven’t read many NIMBY arguments, have you?
            You can always find some significance if you are opposed to a new development.

            I will also stand by my other, ending comments. Cities change. Live with it.

      • Posted by Big D

        Insightful but untrue. Things come and go, esp over the course of five decades.

  5. Posted by Happy Holidays.

    A modern take on the old Singaporean shop house: business downstairs, living quarters upstairs. No commute times for the owner, no housing concerns, enough commercial and residential space for future sure fire growth, not to mention tax benefits. I am impressed.

  6. Posted by Panhandle Pro

    Dream scenario for the doctor if he/she can pull it off. 1) Build their dream home 2) No commute at all 3) Generate huge rental income from the other three units 4) Doesn’t have to pay rent for office space. Bravo!

    • Posted by SocketSite

      In addition, the grand plans include leasing the lower-level surgery center to other doctors as well.

    • Posted by Notcom

      Some people might find that (effectively) telling all your patients where you live isn’t an ideal arrangement; I’d certainly put “psychiatrist” at the top of the list for that… perhaps this doctor’s practice has a low potential for problems.

  7. Posted by sockettome

    The section drawing shows a large space with a height of 8′- 6″ labeled “ceiling” above the exam rooms. What is that for?

    • Posted by Blob

      They have to keep the Theater somewhere…

  8. Posted by Dinah Sore

    Parking is sure gnarly around this location. Hope all the future patients can afford taxis or limos or eek! ubers or lyfts!

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Uber/Lyft/taxis are often cheaper than owning a car, at least for SF residents.

    • Posted by haighter

      or some of them might even walk, or *gasp* take the bus!

  9. Posted by Notcom

    Depending on the type of surgery – the article is vague as to what kind of practice this will be – neither of these may be a realistic option…most of us wouldn’t wan’t to walk several blocks under the influence of anesthesia, and I would think a Muni ride could be even more traumatic.

    And speaking of hangovers, tho we were kidding – I think – about the historical significance of the site, it turns out it actually had a history before the latest one; whether or not it was really the “premier traditional jazz venue in SF” I can’t say, but this is an example of why research on sites is often requested.

    • Posted by EyeNeverKnew

      Notcom, thank so much for that link to the cool old photo!

  10. Posted by Ben Dover

    Call me crazy (and other stuff) but I sure do miss the Knob Hill. SF gained it reputation as The FleshPot Of The West and now most of these places have closed their doors. I just hate the idea of everyone staying home and watching these kind of shows online. Nothing can replace the thrill of experiencing a Skin Show with others in person. A Sad Sign Of The Times and Huge Sigh.

Comments are closed.

Recent Articles